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Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland Hardcover – December 7, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In King's follow-up to Lady Macbeth, Queen Margaret feeds the hungry and clothes the poor while war rages at home and abroad in 11th-century Scotland. Margaret transforms from devout exile into devout yet savvy queen when she marries King Malcolm Canmore, 18 years her senior and famous for killing Macbeth and his heir to the Scottish thrown. Newlywed Margaret first hears of Macbeth's unrepentant widow, Lady Gruadh, who has just sent her gifted granddaughter Eva to Malcolm's court to serve as bard, confidant, and spy. With Eva by her side, an emboldened Margaret embraces both Celtic and Latin religious traditions, aids the poor, frees prisoners, introduces the Scots to English manners, and helps negotiate peace. As she matures, Margaret's love for her husband and his people deepens and their relationship comes richly to life. Though clichés often plague the prose ("Tension and turbulence rode the air like dark clouds before a storm"), King's blend of historical figures and fictional characters turns a medieval icon into a believable mother, wife, and ruler. Quotes from original sources offer context and insight as to where the record ends and imagination begins. (Dec.)
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From Booklist

King whisks readers back to eleventh-century Scotland in this atmospheric historical that interweaves the stories of Margaret of Scotland and Lady Macbeth. When Margaret, a Saxon princess, and her party are shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, she becomes a pawn in an elaborate game of political chess played between her brother, Edgar of England, and Malcolm Canmore, the Scottish warrior-king. After accepting and adapting to her fate, the duty-bound Margaret strikes up an unexpected friendship with Eva, a mystical female bard with suspicious ties to the king’s enemy, the infamous Lady Macbeth. When Eva is accused of treason, it is Margaret who is charged with deciding the fate of her friend. Although you might think that Saxon-era England has been done to death, King’s move north pleasantly reinvigorates a period rife with political, religious, and social tensions and turmoil. --Margaret Flanagan

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Product Details

  • Series: Margaret of Scotland
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1St Edition edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307452795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307452795
  • ASIN: 0307452794
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JB on December 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Margaret of Scotland was such an interesting medieval woman it's nice to finally have a thorough treatment and a historically accurate novel written about her. In Susan Fraser King's new novel, Margaret is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland with her mother and siblings while escaping the Normans in the 11th century. King Malcolm of Scotland sees the advantage and offers to marry her in exchange for helping her brother fight for the Saxon cause just over the border in England. Mrgaret has to adjust to the Scottish court, being a foreigner, and does her best to help the Scots as their new queen. Malcolm brings in Eva, a Celtic bard, granddaughter of Lady Macbeth (who King wrote about in her previous and wonderful novel), and Eva is not only a hostage of the king, but sent there to spy for Lady Macbeth. Malcolm and Eva clash - he even takes away her harp as punishment for her boldness - but Margaret unexpectedly forms a growing friendship with the young female bard whose cultural ideas are very different from Margaret's. The story builds from there, covering the first few years of Margaret's reign as queen in Scotland.

King's signature style -- lyrical voice, symapthetic and compelling characters, accurate research and real life details make this a read I couldn't put down. My ony regret is that King ended the story too soon, as I wanted to spend more time with these people in this fabulous setting. I loved Lady Macbeth, what a poetic novel, and Queen Hereafter has a different feel. More gentle and sensitive in ways that suit Margaret so well. It's not as dark and that suits this character, who is such a gentle, vulnerable soul cast into a situation where she must deal with unexpected challenges in life. Margaret wanted to be a nun, but no, her brother married her off to Malccolm to suit his own agenda. Malcolm is not the evil man we might expect, but a blundering oaf that we come to genuinely like. Highly enjoyable read, and highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
This historical, romantic novel is a page turner and I loved it. It is based on twelfth century history in Scotland and Northumbria of England in a war between Norman William the Conqueror and King Malcolm (Canmore) of Scotland. Princess Margaret of England, along with her father, mother, sister and brother Prince Edgar the Aetheling, had fled to the royal court of Hungary, an extremely pious Catholic nation for sanctuary, but Margaret's father was called back to England and shortly thereafter suffered a mysterious death, for which Margaret, who was 8 at the time, blamed herself the rest of her life because she had coaxed him into eating some sweetmeats, which were poisoned. Because of her guilt, Margaret became very devout, intending to become a nun and after her father's death, her family and her were kept confined in an Abbey. Margaret followed the severe devotional life of the nuns, praying several times day and night, which, Margaret continued the rest of her life. No one could understand her, even the priests, but the novel indicates she was trying to atone for her father's death.

Her family was rescued from this abbey and fled across the channel in a boat, but were shipwrecked on the shores of Scotland. Her teen-age brother, Prince Edgar, sought King Malcolm's help to fight William and regain his Saxon kingdom. Malcolm was a warrior king and understood that Edgar would never be able to do this on his own and hesitated for several years to openly fight William, but kept raiding into Northcumbria, which had once been his.

Margaret, along with being extremely devout, was educated, beautiful, virtuous, and charitable. From the time she first saw Malcolm, she considered him a brute and totally uncouth.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Queen Hereafter characters are distinctive; the women, strong. The history is well researched, and Susan Fraser King's depictions of 11th century life in Scotland...gripping. That all makes for good solid reading. But that's not what gets me.

What I love, besides King's storytelling and that she clearly writes through the eyes and soul of an artist, is how she can make today's reader feel a kinship with the people of the 11th century, and with a sense of humor. That is, King's Queen Hereafter characters tackle the same compelling human issues and cultural dilemmas we do today--personal loss, overprotective loved ones ("Shall I advise him that his sister coddles him overmuch, and he should grow ballocks?"), class tension and tension between the sexes, fear ("she dropped to her knees and folded her hands, breath whispering over fingertips as she pleaded for an answer"), need to prove hardihood ("Margaret watched Malcolm lift a horn filled with wine, the liquid sloshing down his arm as he drank... many warriors found sport in emptying their drinking horns quickly in long gulps."), even anorexia. I was drawn into the characters' struggles and satisfied by King's skillful portrayals of their particular defenses and efforts to find solutions.

I loved this book! When's the movie?
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By Nadine on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Lady MacBeth, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Queen Hereafter, even pre-ordered it. Once I started the first page, I couldn't stop and quickly devoured this book in a matter of days! I LOVED IT! I really felt, through Susan's writing, that I was right back there with Queen Margaret. Only thing I didn't like was that when I got to the end of the book I found myself wishing that it kept going on, and on, and on! I'll now be anxiously awaiting news/release of her next book!!
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